TSN takes over from Sportsnet for ATP Tour 1000 and 500 tennis coverage

TSN takes over from Sportsnet for ATP Tour 1000 and 500 tennis coverage

Canadian tennis fans have had plenty of complaints about Sportsnet's diligence in covering men's tennis in recent years, since it took over the Rogers Cup events in both Montreal and Toronto and also added a slate of the the bigger ATP Tour men's events.

Beginning in February, TSN will have the ATP Tour back. In a multi-year deal, the sports network has re-acquired the rights to the Masters 1000 tournaments (Indian Wells, Miami, Monte-Carlo, Madrid, Rome, Cincinnati, Shanghai, and Paris) and the 500-level tournaments (including Rotterdam, Rio, Acapulco, Dubai, Barcelona, Halle, London, Hamburg, Washington, Beijing, Tokyo, Basel, and Vienna).

TSN already broadcasts the four Grand Slams. The only major men's event it won't have will be the Rogers Cup, which remains on Sportsnet in a long-term deal. As well, the Davis Cup and Fed Cup will remain on Sportsnet.

“With even more matches on TSN showcasing the biggest stars in men’s tennis, this new agreement is a winner for tennis fans across the country,” was the press-release quote from TSN vice-president of programming, Shawn Redmond. “The addition of ATP World Tour events to our schedule means TSN will deliver more world-class tennis across our expanded suite of five national feeds, and it’s a perfect complement to our exclusive multi-court coverage of all four tennis Grand Slams.”

TSN had been the home of tennis in Canada, until Sportsnet grabbed the rights in the fall of 2010 (effective in 2011) in a large package they acquired mainly for the rights to the Rogers Cup. That deal expires at the end of this year.

In May, Sportsnet extended its deal to broadcast the Rogers Cup another five years, to 2020, with the addition of exclusive rights to the entire tournament. Previously, the final rounds were aired on CBC. But the ATP Tour events were not included in that.

What remains to be seen is exactly what TSN will do with the rights, now that they've got them back. Sportsnet had them as well; often, though, despite having the expanded grid of available channels, they broadcast some matches on tape-delay (anathema to diehard tennis fans), or not at all.

A couple of days ago, the ATP Tour announced expansion of the number of matches it would produce and make available to its rights holders, including more courts from the bigger events and more doubles coverage. That expanded menu will kick in at Indian Wells in March, where the ATP will produce a total of 96 matches across all eight show courts at that Masters 1000 tournament.

As for women's tennis and the WTA Tour, well – in terms of English-language broadcast in Canada – it's still an uphill battle.